How to Convert an iPhone into a Dumb Phone

Learn how to disable distracting and web browsing features on an iPhone device

by Tech Lockdown Team
Updated February 26, 2024

Phones used to be so simple. All you had to do was dial a number, and then pay the phone bill at the end of the month. Now, with GPS, social media, web browsers, and extended warranties, phones have become a lot smarter, but also a lot more complicated.

The new features, improvements, and updates to technology of today are very important, however, not all of the changes are beneficial. Explicit and Sensitive Content are everywhere online, and it can seem impossible to avoid. Fortunately, it is possible to limit your devices so that they provide more protection. We call these " Healthy Smartphones ".

For iPhone's, it is possible to greatly reduce the number of features available to you, in addition to implementing other adult content blocking technique for an iPhone . This process takes a normal Smartphone and turns it into a "Healthy iPhone".

Creating a 'Healthy iPhone' requires the use of a Mobile Device Manager or a Macbook running Apple Configurator, which is an app used to set up a supervised device. 

A Mobile Device Manager is a software application that allows users to remotely manage and control devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Device Restrictions

When an iPhone is set up as a supervised or managed device, you can enforce some device restrictions that limit certain features.

Allow installing apps

When this feature is disabled, you won't be able to install any apps from the App Store.

You can install the apps you want access to before disabling this feature. You can also install apps using Apple Configurator, which is used to set up the supervised device. This is a more comprehensive approach to creating a list of blocked apps

Restrict access to unapproved WiFi networks

Block access to WiFi networks that aren't specifically approved in the supervised/managed device profile.

Content Filter Allow Only Mode

Enabling the built-in content filter with allow-only mode blocks visiting all websites on all browsers unless they are added to the allow list.

Turn on Grayscale Mode

While this won't enforce any content restrictions on your iPhone, it can help solidify the idea that the phone is locked down.

A phone with Grayscale enabled will give a visual reminder that your smartphone is being locked down at all times. 

Managed Device Kiosk Mode

Fully managed iOS devices that are configured with a Mobile Device Manager can enforce Kiosk mode, which provides access to even more device restrictions.

Combine Kiosk mode with the previously mentioned device restrictions to create your ideal Healthy Phone.

Here is my iPhone running in Kiosk Multi App Mode:

It's indistinguishable from a normal iPhone, but I've removed certain features (like web browsing).

Allowed Apps

In Kiosk Multi App Mode you will specify the apps (including system apps) that you want to allow access to. Anything not specified on this list will be hidden.

Consider blocking access to the following iOS features by not including them in the Allowed Apps list:

  1. General Settings app
  2. Web Browsers
  3. App Store

Learn how to Manage iOS Devices at Home

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Closing Thoughts

We've gone over the process of converting a Smartphone into a Healthy iPhone. This process requires the use of a Mobile Device Manager but allows us to control a bunch of settings remotely. These changes, in turn, allow us to be better protected while online.